WAILUKU - Seabury Hall senior setter Max DeLyon misses his brother on the volleyball court.
Rocky DeLyon is now a starter at NAIA powerhouse California Baptist University after teaming with his brother for three straight appearances in Division II state finals, including winning the 2010 state crown, for the Spartans.
After a second set that showed how much they miss Rocky, Max DeLyon dished out 26 assists to lead the Spartans to a 25-14, 10-25, 25-20, 25-22 victory over Baldwin in Maui Interscholastic League volleyball action on Tuesday night at the Bears' gym.
Seabury Hall’s Blake Rizzo attempts a spike against the block of Baldwin’s Bradley Bowlin in the second set on Tuesday at the Bears’ gym. The Spartans won the Maui Interscholastic League match 25-14, 10-25, 25-20, 25-22.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
"Baldwin was serving really tough and we weren't making good passes and I wasn't connecting with my hitters and stuff, which is why we lost that second game," Max DeLyon said. "The third game we really started stepping up with our passing and I started making connections with the guys on the outside and the backside more."
DeLyon found Blake Rizzo for 13 kills, while Makena Jost added nine kills for the Spartans (3-0). DeLyon himself had seven kills, mostly on his vaunted dumps on second hits that often caught the Bears (1-1) off-guard.
"We feel pretty good," DeLyon said. "We are still working on our rotations and stuff because we have a bunch of new guys. We lost a lot of guys last year, but we are starting to come together, so it should be a good season."
Seabury Hall def. Baldwin 25-14, 10-25, 25-20, 25-22
Rocky DeLyon is one of the Spartans who moved on from last season's state runner-up squad.
"It's fun playing with him," said Max DeLyon, who added he also will attend CBU and may try out for the team, which is currently recruiting five setters.
"I'm not sure yet, but my brother has been talking to the coach," Max DeLyon said.
On this night, it appeared that two of the three teams that represented the MIL in state tournaments last season would put on a slugfest after they took turns dominating the first two sets.
DeLyon said this team has "the potential to be just as good as all those other (state finals) teams, we just have to put in work at practice and play as hard as we can."
That showed in the third and fourth sets.
The third was tied eight times, the final occasion at 11-11. A Rizzo kill off a nifty set from DeLyon followed by a Rizzo ace gave the Spartans a 16-13 lead which grew to 22-15.
Trent Helle, who finished with six kills and two blocks, stuffed a DeLyon dump attempt and backed it up with a kill to bring the Bears within 22-19.
Baldwin errors ended the third set and the fourth was also close. Bradley Bowlin, who had seven kills and three blocks, smoked a laser into the corner for a 10-7 Baldwin lead. Seabury went on a 6-0 run to take a 15-13 lead.
Back-to-back kills by Randy Wong, who led the Bears with nine kills, and Bowlin made it 22-21 Seabury Hall before a Rizzo kill ended it moments later.
Baldwin setter Kyson Kaiama had 24 assists, 11 digs and three aces, while Niko Corpin added six kills, Ryan Garces had five kills, and Justin Villanueva had 15 digs.
The Spartans played without starters Ryan Noufer and Kyle Stisher, who are both on family vacations for spring break.
"We are a young team and we are going to have momentum swings," Seabury Hall coach Caleb Palmer said. "The main thing is to rebound from that, but yeah, that second (set) was ugly. We have to remember that Baldwin is a very good team and that I knew they were capable of that. It was just how were we going to respond."
Baldwin coach Kalei Houpo said his team has to recover quickly and find consistency.
"Right now, we need to work on hitting, we had a lot of hitting errors today," he said. "That second set was the team that should have been here the whole game, but we are still young. We should be OK by the end of the season."
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org